Friday, 8 February 2019

Menindee Lakes: Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

While we were distracted by the Banking Royal Commission fizzer -- which not for predictable was less attention-grabbing -- Michael McCormack and Niall Blair demonstrated why they are successful politicians and why it will take radical changes to our society if we want to save the Australian environment and our civilisation and ourselves.

Yesterday the news started with a PR exercise:


A month into the Menindee disaster, where in two events hundreds of thousands -- maybe millions, plural -- of fish died, where locals lost their water supply, McCormack finally deigned to visit Menindee. For one of those extraordinary coincidences, it was just in time to associate his august presence there and that of Blair with the rescue of -- what? -- a few dozens, a couple of hundred, fish?

Having scored some easy points for his extremely public and publicised display of concern about wild- and human life, McCormack barely changed his and Blair’s narrative. He changed from the commonplace “perfect storm” to the equally trite, to say nothing of disingenuous, “we’re all experts in hindsight”, as if nobody had demonstrated the foresight which he and Blair and their MDBA handmaids chose to ignore in their pigheaded crusade to deprive the river system of environmental flows on behalf of a privileged section of their constituency.

Then came the announcement: more fish kills are on their way and we may expect them in the coming days. This time because after having partially flushed the Menindee lakes, now they intend to reserve what little water they left there to supply Broken Hill. And even those 19 GL isn’t much.

But, never fear, after manufacturing the crisis they had the solution ready at hand: the Murray River to Broken Hill pipeline.


By now everybody and their dogs know that pipeline will mean the end of the Menindee lakes. Only McCormack and Blair prefer to ignore that. No longer used to provide Broken Hill with water, the lakes will eventually disappear and with them the breeding grounds of fish and aquatic birds. No more water will be allocated to them.

You can see that in two different ways: to adjust water supply and environment, they amputate the environment; alternatively, water efficiency (a concept that genius Phillip Glyde prefers) applies to the environment and less privileged farmers and communities only, not to large irrigators who have plenty of water to waste on cotton and rice.

Locals know it and have been very vocal about that,

The pipeline plan that will drain the lower Darling River dry
‘If you think this is bad,’ say locals of recent mass fish kills, ‘just wait until the Menindee Lakes project goes ahead’
By Anne Davies and Mike Bowers. January 23, 2019. 04.00 AEDT

That’s not new. Former MDBA staff know it and have been warning about that pipeline since last year at the very least


In a nominally democratic, developed country, that’s how politicians steamroll the opposition to that monstrosity. In a perverse way, McCormack was right on something: dats Shtraya, mite.

As Richard Beasley SC, senior counsel assisting the SA-MDB Royal Commission, said:
“That is politics, that is not science. And the amount of water for the environment had to be set by the best available science … and it wasn’t. That is why he [Bret Walker] has found it has been maladministration.
“… It is really important [to] Australians in a civilised country that the law is obeyed. It is important that happens. If the politicians don’t like the law, they can change the Water Act. But the Water Act is really clear. It says it is a statutory fact that we have stuffed this river system by giving too much water to irrigators and we have to stop that.”
And in a few years’ time, when the all-too predictable disasters those creatures are willingly creating materialise, some buffoon will justify him/herself with the same kind of bullshit. Who knows, maybe even “we’re all experts in hindsight”.

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